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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mommy's Southern Style Greens

Sauteed the pork jowl and onions after adding seasoning. I later found out that no one sautees the onions.  They just cook with the greens. 

Stuff, stuff, stuff the greens into the pot!

Just after compressing the greens down and turning on the heat

After 15 minutes of cooking 

All done :).

Everyone who knows me always says that I'm a great cook, but that I never make American food. The thing is, I know the American food like the back of my hand.  I could make it in my sleep. Although it's fun to get creative and put new twists on the traditional dishes, it's more challenging to venture out into new culinary realms.  Just the same, soul food is very dear to my heart.  Growing up, my mom and I would cook together while swapping tips and talking some good old fashioned trash over the stove.  When I was in my early teenage years and going through that stage of distancing myself from my parents, my mom would make me come downstairs to watch her make certain dishes so that I wouldn't lose our family traditions. 

Although I like to make foods from all over the world, the smell of candied yams in the oven and greens or cabbage on the stove still brings back memories of my childhood.  So for those who are always asking my why I don't make more American food, and for all of the wonderful mothers out there who so lovingly pass their recipes down to their children, keeping strong the ties to our past, this recipe is for you.

1 2lb bag of greens (collards are the most common or kale, but turnip greens are also very good)

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced (traditionally ~ 1/4 tsp garlic powder)

2-4 slices of jowl bacon, chopped coarsely ( I ran out of ham hocks.  Traditionally you use 1 smoked pork neck bone or ham hock or even a smoked turkey leg--for these large cuts of meat, score the meat with a knife. )

1/2-1 tsp (or to taste) of hot pepper flakes

1-2 TB of sugar (likely 2)

salt to taste (may 1 TB or two)

water in a large stock pot (about 2" of water)

Wash the greens well.  Drain them and set aside.

Fry the jowl bacon over medium low to medium heat in a large stock pot.  If you are using smoked turkey or ham hock or neck bones, you do not need to do this step.  *Just be sure to score those larger cuts of meat.

Once the meat is browned, fill the pot with 2" of water. Add the seasoning and the greens.

You will likely have to compress the greens to stuff them into the pot.  Don't worry, they will cook down in 15 minutes.  If all of your greens do not fit in the pot, just add in more after the greens cook down to make enough room.

Cook for about an hour and a half until tender.  Depending on the time of year, it may take up to as much as two hours or so.

*This process can also be done the crock pot.

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